Today we present the seventh and final Piazza, for Best Position Player. There are three strong candidates and I look forward to the community voting here. Also, check back tomorrow for a summary of the community voting results for The Piazzas.
The nominees for Best Position Player are:
Lucas Duda: In a season not too long ago, Duda's 30 home runs and .830 OPS would have been yawn-worthy from a first baseman. But steroids are gone, strikeouts are up, and Duda was one of the top ~15 hitters in the National League. He went on a home run binge when the temperature rose, cracking 22 home runs from mid-June through the end of the season. And he did it while holding his own defensively at first base; thank heavens he's no longer an outfielder. It's a feather in Sandy Alderson's cap that he stuck with Duda over Ike Davis, who once again posted a sub-.400 slugging percentage.
Juan Lagares: If one votes for Lagares to win the Piazza, one is probably a fan of defensive metrics. Lagares's UZR and DRS helped him to a 3.8 fWAR and 5.5 rWAR, respectively, team-best in both cases. While he is unquestionably a fantastic, Gold Glove-caliber center fielder, I'm a skeptic of how seriously we should take the specific run values associated with defensive metrics. Regress, regress, regress. But even if you cut Lagares's 2014 UZR in half, he was still almost certainly one of the two or three best position players on the Mets this season. A league-average bat with superlative defense makes for a valuable player.
Daniel Murphy: At the All-Star break, Murph seemed like a decent bet to win the Piazza for Best Position Player. He had a .755 OPS and was the Mets' lone representative at the Midsummer Classic. It looked like a career year might be in the works. Unfortunately, he slumped in the second half, and also missed two weeks due to a strained right calf. He finished with a slash line of .289/.332/.403, nearly identical to his career line of .290/.333/.424 that he had entering the season. He's a good player and I hope there's a way for the Mets to keep him.
And the Piazza for Best Position Player goes to...
Lucas Duda! Here is Lucas celebrating with last year's winner:
Here is how everyone voted:
|Aaron Yorke||Lucas Duda||Juan Lagares||Daniel Murphy|
|Andrew Cohen||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy||Juan Lagares|
|Chris McShane||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy||Juan Lagares|
|Chris Strohmaier||Juan Lagares||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy|
|Colby Conetta||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy||Juan Lagares|
|Eric Simon||Juan Lagares||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy|
|James Kannengieser||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy||Juan Lagares|
|Jeffrey Litt||Lucas Duda||Juan Lagares||Daniel Murphy|
|Jeffrey Paternostro||Juan Lagares||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy|
|Joseph Wolkin||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy||Juan Lagares|
|Matthew Callan||Lucas Duda||Travis d'Arnaud||Daniel Murphy|
|Michael Avallone||Lucas Duda||Juan Lagares||Daniel Murphy|
|Nicholas Walsh||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy||Juan Lagares|
|Scot Cohen||Lucas Duda||Juan Lagares||Daniel Murphy|
|Steven Schreiber||Lucas Duda||Juan Lagares||Daniel Murphy|
|Sydney Hunte||Lucas Duda||Daniel Murphy||Juan Lagares|
And here is the final vote tally, using a 3-2-1 points system:
Now it's your turn to vote. We'll summarize the community awards in a post at the conclusion of The Piazzas.